Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Israel vows to cement ties with China
Israel expects to boost its bilateral relations with China in a variety of fields, including high technology, clean technology, agriculture, trade and cultural exchanges, said Rafael Barak, director-general of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during a press conference held in Beijing on May 30, 2011.
Barak paid a five-day visit to China from May 26 to May 30, during which he had talks with Chinese diplomats on the relationship between the two countries, bilateral economic cooperation and the Middle-East peace process.
He said, "This was a very busy week for China-Israel relations. I brought with me a group of 25 diplomats. They are not dealing in their daily life with China, but with other continents. But this is our decision to bring them here to a seminar with several Chinese personalities. We introduced to them what China is today and where China is in international business."
His visit has been seen as a signal that Israel would like to deepen China-Israel ties, as he said, "For me it's an important message that just after I was appointed as director- general I decided to come to China as my first visit." He further explained that China has the second most important economy in the world only after the United States.
In order to increase Israel's bilateral ties with China, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to take a series of measures weeks ago, he said.
"We created a ministry in Jerusalem, and a department will be dealing only with China. We have here the Embassy and the Consulates General in Shanghai and Guangzhou. These departments will be dedicated only to China and Chinese affairs," he said.
In addition, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs decided this year to increase the number of diplomats in China. The third Consulate of Israel in Chinese mainland will be established next year to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Barak expressed his sincere appreciation for Chinese people's help to Jews during the World War II. He said, "The relations between China and Israel have a long history, more than a thousand years. Both Israel and Jerusalem people will always remember the last period of the WWII when almost 30, 000 Jews lived in Shanghai as refugees and they were allowed to live in families to overcome the disaster of the WWII."
At last, he said Israel is looking forward to bolstering economic and trade cooperation with China in different subjects, such as high technology, clean technology and trade. "In the framework of economic development in China's five-year plan, we try to see in which way we can cooperate", he said.
"In addition to the cooperation we have in economy and agriculture, we would like to increase people-to-people communication. We would like to invite Chinese to come to Israel and also to increase the number of Israelis visiting your country," he added.
Click To View Video
Chinese should be integrated into school language curriculum: Israeli PM
Chinese Mandarin language studies should be made mandatory in Israeli schools' academic curriculum, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday.
Netanyahu's remarks came during a visit with Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar to an Arab-Israeli high school in Lod, which adopted Chinese studies several years ago.
Israel's children "must acquire skills that will enable them to cope with the future," Netanyahu said.
The prime minister said that he had personally approached Sa'ar two years ago with the request, asking that Chinese be added to the nation's schools, owing to "China's importance as a rising cultural and economic power."
Israel-China relations have significantly improved over the last years, with diplomatic, commercial, academic, scientific and cultural ties being strengthened.